The Terrifying Annabelle Real Doll Story

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Written By Madeline Guerra

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For one unlucky nursing student, an innocent looking gift soon brought her into a world of terror when a certain doll entered her life.

Here is the real Annabelle doll story.

The Real Annabelle Doll: Image source

The real Annabelle doll is not as creepy looking as the movie creators depict her. In the movies, the doll is dramatized as a way to add a level of chilling fear into the audience. From the pale porcelain skin and layered makeup, to the long pigtails and white dress, the doll in theaters is sure to leave you thinking about her in the middle of the night while you try to fall asleep. 

However, if you knew what the real doll looked like, you would probably be shocked by its differences.

Annabelle looks like the old raggedy-anne type dolls that your parents had as children. She has red hair made out of yarn, big black eyes, a triangle nose, and a giant eerie smile across her face. 

Perhaps what makes her just as creepy, is knowing what she has done, despite how innocent she looks.

Other Real-Life Haunted Dolls

It seems that for just as long as dolls have served as cute toys and gifts for family members, as was Annabelle, they have also been surrounded by death and morbidity. Let’s go back all the way to the Victorian Era, a time where many children never lived to see adulthood, and introduce you to mourning dolls. 

Victorian Mourning Dolls

The Victorian Era was a time where the divide between the upper and lower class became larger. Therefore only certain families that could afford to, would start to make mourning dolls. Dealing with the death of an infant or child can be next to impossible, so they would start to make these dolls as a way to cope with their loss. It would be placed on the casket during the wake and funeral, and even some people would take it home and care for it like a real child.

Not only were the dolls life sized and sculpted with wax around sand-weights to add a life-like effect, they were also made with the deceased child’s real hair and clothes. Apparently the size and the weight of the dolls just wasn’t realistic enough. 

Robert the Doll

Even later on, people still seemed to connect dolls to real children, as is Robert the Doll, who was named after its owner Robert Eugene Otto. He grew up with his family in Key West, Florida, and they gave him the doll as a gift sometime during the early 1900s.

The boy instantly took a liking to the doll and they became best friends. 

After some time though, the family began to have mysterious events happen in the house. The boy would start to blame all of his misbehavior and wrongdoings on the doll. The family said that the doll started changing positions on its own when no one was in the room, but the worst thing was the parents stating that they would hear their son having conversations with the doll in his room and a different voice responding to him. 

After Robert Otto passed away in 1974, the doll was named after him and was donated to the East Martello Museum for safe-keeping. Sitting there surrounded by letters of both apology and admiration, it is said that guests who are rude or don’t ask permission before taking his picture experience a great misfortune. 

Okiku: The Living Doll

Much like Robert, another supposedly haunted doll that is cared for and on display is Okiku. She is a female doll that was given as a gift in 1918, Japan, by a young man to his little sister. Sadly though, the young girl ended up dying a year later from the flu. 

Grief-stricken, the family made a shrine in her memory, where they laid out the doll. But soon they began to notice that the doll’s hair was growing, which should not be happening. So they ended up giving it to the Mannenji Temple in Hokkaido, Japan, to be cared for even to this day. 

The Curse of Harold

Even in a much more modern age, it seems that haunted dolls keep appearing no matter where we turn. Take Harold for example, a doll that came from none other than Ebay. He was put up for auction in 2003 by a man named Greg, and his friend Kathy ended up purchasing it from him. 

Apparently, once Kathy purchased the doll, strange things started happening in her life that she locked it away. Not even a year later, she put it up for auction again in 2004 because she could no longer deal with Harold plaguing her life.

According to the current owner, she said that while she didn’t believe the doll was haunted, she did believe it was cursed. 

Why cursed you may ask? This is because in the six-month span she had the doll before locking it away, two of her friends ended up perishing tragically. This was enough for her to get rid of the doll by any means, and she was successful as someone else was very eager to buy it. They claim to still have the doll until this day. 

Norman the Doll

The last little fellow on our list before we get to the real star of this show is Norman the Doll. I have to admit, he isn’t a very popular one, in fact, I only came across him in a documentary series titled A Haunting, on the tv channel Destination America. 

He was purchased from an antique store by paranormal investigator Stephen Lancaster and his wife, who has now written two books on his experiences owning Norman.

There were even clips of Stephen capturing the doll supposedly moving on camera, and while there is no way to be sure if it is real, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t get goosebumps every time I watch it. 

Even if you don’t believe everything you have read so far about dolls being haunted, why are most of us still afraid of them?

Well unsurprisingly, most of us are not born afraid of dolls, in fact, most of us probably loved them as little children. So where did all of that change?

Our Fear of Dolls

This may be due to multiple different factors, but there is no certain answer to this question. Perhaps pop culture has somehow conditioned us to be afraid of them, with horror movies about dolls being released left and right. This may condition our brains to associate dolls with a feeling of being unsafe, or maybe someone experienced a traumatic event that involved a doll. Whatever the reason may be, it doesn’t seem like our view of dolls is changing anytime soon.

Annabelle: Real Doll Story

Annabelle looks much different in real life, but that is not the only thing in real life that differs from the movies. 

In fact, the movies are completely fabricated, aside from the involvement of Ed and Lorraine Warren that is seen in the beginning.

The movies never told the real stories of the people who owned the doll when the Warrens had to step in. In real life, the doll was a gift from a mother to her 28-year-old nursing student, Donna, in 1970. At the time she was living with another nursing student Angie, and Angie’s fiance Lou, was a frequent visitor. All three experienced supernatural events surrounding the doll. 

They said that like most hauntings, everything started off small and not necessarily frightening. At first, they would come home to find the doll in different positions, very subtle changes though. Then it became bolder.

The doll would begin to move between rooms, sometimes they would find it with its arms folded and legs crossed, and even standing against a chair and bending its knees on a chair. Which was physically impossible for the doll to do when one of them tried to maneuver it the same way. 

Then things slowly started to become more intense, with them coming home to find handwritten notes on parchment paper that looked like a child scribbled them out. The notes would read “help us” or “help Lou”, which was the fiance who frequented the apartment they lived in. 

Things changed though when Donna came home one day and reportedly found what looked like blood on the back of the doll’s hand, and three drops of it on the chest. This was when she decided to contact a medium in hopes of her helping them deal with the doll. 

The medium decided to hold a seance in the apartment with them and said that the spirit of a seven-year-old girl named Annabelle was stuck here because the grounds of the apartment had been where her body was discovered many years ago.

The little girl asked them for permission to live in the doll and since the young women felt bad for her they agreed, but it ended up being one of the worst decisions of their lives. 

Angie’s fiance Lou, had never liked the doll and always felt uncomfortable around it. He had constantly tried to warn them about it too.

One night while staying there, he awoke from sleep and was unable to move. He then saw the doll at his feet and it slowly climbed up his body and onto his chest where it proceeded to strangle him until he blacked out. Until this day, he swears it wasn’t a dream. 

This wasn’t the only time Lou was attacked though, as Annabelle seemed to have her eyes set on him, maybe because he knew all along something was wrong with her. One day while in the apartment, Lou and Angie heard noises coming from the room next to them. Lou told Angie that he should check it out. 

When he entered the room, he found Annabelle sitting on the floor in the corner. While walking toward her, he felt something behind him but when he turned around no one was there. Suddenly, Lou fell to the floor in pain, and they found seven claw-like scratches on his chest. What was even weirder was that they reportedly healed within only two days, which is not scientifically possible. 

After this, the three of them could not take anymore and ended up contacting the local church, who then contacted the Warrens to come look at the doll. The Warrens then informed them that the doll was being used as a conduit for a demonic entity, and there was never a little girl. It pretended in order to gain their trust and fool them.

Unsurprisingly, they told the priest to exorcise the apartment, perform a blessing on anyone living there and took Annabelle home with them in order to protect everyone else from the evil. 

So after all of this, I am sure many people are concerned about where she is now, and if we are truly safe from the demonic doll. Well, much to everyone’s relief, she is still safe and sound in the same place she has been for decades, the Warrens’ Occult Museum in their house. Now managed by their daughter and son-in-law. 

She sits there day and night in a glass box made from holy objects and is blessed every week by a priest. On the front of the box, reads a sign warning people to never open the box, aside from those trained to do so for the blessings. 

Although perhaps even the box can never truly contain the evil that is attached to that doll. Even Lorrain Warren said when she was alive that she never liked to make eye contact with Annabelle. Sadly not everyone heeds the warnings surrounding Annabelle, as such was one man who visited the museum. 

The Curse Lives On

During a tour Ed was giving, the man began taunting the doll and challenging it. Eventually, Ed kicked him out and the man took off on his motorcycle with his girlfriend. On their way home, their motorcycle crashed and the man died instantly.No matter where we go, we can never escape the evil that exists in this world, but we can listen to those who warn us. It is the same for dolls. We can never get rid of dolls because they will always have a place in this world. From the mourning dolls, to sweet gifts that slowly turn into our sinister waking nightmare, let’s just hope that they never fall into the wrong hands. 

Listen to “Annabelle: A Real-Life Haunted Doll” podcast episode on A Dark Memory

A Dark Memory: Horror Stories

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